The Hyperdunk+ shoe line, which came out this summer, represents the latest step in Nike's push to add more technology to its products and boost its presence in the burgeoning smartphone world. When I think of space-age fitness gear, the Lunar Hyperdunk+ smart basketball shoes certainly fit the bill. (Nike makes Hyperdunk+ shoes for both men and women; the Lunar seems to be currently only available for men, but a Lunar model for women is said to be coming out in September.) They didn't help my woeful basketball game much, but thanks to the built-in Bluetooth sensor and accompanying iPhone app, I could track just how awful I was from game to game. At a pricey $250, though, these high-tech sneaks are more nifty gimmick than training tool.
The Lunar Hyperdunk+ shoes are outfitted with four pressure sensors that track your motion. Underneath the insoles are slots for removable Bluetooth sensors which connect to your iPhone (sorry, Android fans, no app is available for you yet). To get going, you charge the sensors, pop them into the sneakers, press the heel of the insoles to active them, then connect to them via your iPhone and free Nike+ Basketball app. From there, the shoes can track your performance through several metrics: time played, vertical leap, quickness measured in steps per second, and Nike's proprietary NikeFuel score.
You can start and stop the workout and pause for timeouts. Once you're done with a game, you use your iPhone app to transfer the data from shoes to phone for a handy readout on your handset. The Nike+ Basketball app displays the times and dates of each game, too, giving you a handy breakdown of how many Nike Fuel points were scored, how fast you moved, and how high you can jump. You also receive banners if you set a high mark within any of those areas. On a game-by-game basis, the app tracks whether you were improving or starting to feel the fatigue as well.
By tilting your phone horizontally, you can get the data broken down by time, so you can see when in the game you peaked in terms of quickness, height, or Fuel points.
Your performance doesn't have to live in a vacuum, either. You can compare your stats with your friends', that is if if they also use the app and own a pair of Hyperdunk+ shoes. While Nike has recorded data from athletes using these shoes, it sadly hasn't published any of it yet, which means you can't see how you stack up against Lebron James or any other professional athletes. Nike says it plans to eventually share some of that data with users.
One of the coolest Hyperdunk+ features happens right after you connect the app to the shoes. The app graphically displays the two shoes that fluctuate between orange and black in real time depending on the pressure you apply with your feet, similar to a live heat map. I know this animation doesn't do much, but you have to admire its slick presentation.
Beyond tracking your game, the Nike+ app offers an alternative Live Mode, which constantly measures how high you jump and how quickly you can shuffle your feet. Presumably, you can practice with Live Mode to improve your movement during a real game. There's also a Showcase Mode, in which you can take a video of yourself during the game, pair it up with the relevant data at the time, and share it with friends on social platforms.